Making MLB stadiums more energy efficient has become another way for ownership to both save money and become environmentally conscious. Linked here, there are many stadiums that have gone through extensive modernization programs to help them achieve energy efficiency.
That sets the tone for Montreal’s future stadium efforts, which should – in theory – seek to be one of the most energy and environmentally conscious stadiums in MLB.
If you haven’t heard of Elon Musk yet, let’s just say that he’s in high demand. When he’s not giving the auto industry an extreme makeover with Tesla, he’s doing the same in the Space industry with Space X. He’s highly involved in the Hyperloop project, and since he has so much free time on his hands, he also heads the Boring company which aims to use underground tunnels to ease traffic woes and transportation in general in the future.
— Tesla (@Tesla) October 24, 2017
Musk has also taken on some humanitarian and Government projects, in Puerto Rico and Australia respectively, where Solar generation proved to be invaluable assets to fixing some of their biggest problems. And these two projects are the reason I believe Tesla should be involved in any stadium build in Montreal, if the new ownership group is forward looking.
Schools across Hawaii are using Powerwalls and solar to provide clean power to cool 1,000 classrooms. https://t.co/4pBLNss0YE
— Tesla (@Tesla) February 23, 2018
Why would Tesla want to take on or help with such a project?
Well, while Tesla does have the marketing tool of having Musk’s Roadster in orbit with Spaceman included, what they don’t have is naming rights to an MLB Stadium. And while they’ve successfully resolved the power generation needs of Hospitals and thousands of people, they haven’t taken something this large off-grid, particularly in a Northern climate.
View from SpaceX Launch Control. Apparently, there is a car in orbit around Earth. pic.twitter.com/QljN2VnL1O
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 6, 2018
Therefore, not only would it be challenging for them to supply all of the power required for an MLB Stadium, but it would also help them dissuade any criticism about whether or not solar power and their energy storage cells can be sufficient (and cost effective) in such a climate.
But that’s not all.
Imagine for one second, a hub of activity, a Grand Central Station of the modern age. A place where the Boring company can use as a central passing point for its tunnel efforts. A place where the lines for future hyperloops can meet. A place where every parking spot has a Tesla charging station. And a place where Tesla’s off-grid Stadium stands as a shrine.
Setting the tone for such stations with a build in Montreal could be what allows Musk to bind many of his initiatives together, in one place, and enhance their profiles as they co-exist. From there, if successful, the next builds would be easier to sell as Montreal would stand as an example of its capabilities.
Why would Expos ownership group want to partner with Tesla?
Well, Elon Musk. That should be enough, right? But if not, here are some valid reasons.
First, the naming rights can be directly applied to the cost of making the stadium off-grid. Some recent teams that have sold naming rights are receiving $5M/season or more in MLB. And if we use the Quebec City arena as an example, we can see that some companies are willing to pay a large amount up front and less thereafter ($30M in their case).
We can’t pinpoint the costs of making a Montreal Stadium off-grid, but if Tesla receives naming rights and the Expos are willing to not receive a penny for it, a $30M or so upfront cost could be used to have the initial investment, followed by $5M worth in additions and servicing costs thereafter.
Safeco field has been rated as one of the most energy efficient fields in MLB with the help of NW Wind&Solar who describe the system as follows,
The 32.76–kilowatt PV panel system at Safeco Field is expected to produce 40,000kWh of electricity each year. Panasonic, who is a sponsor of the Mariners, provided the 168–panel system at a discount. The solar panels were installed on the elevator canopy for the parking garage and over the skywalk. This system is expected to reduce the need for conventional electricity of the garage by 10 to 30 percent.
The Mariners are a particularly great example for the Expos to follow since they’re also set to come to a new agreement where it comes to naming rights, which involves the following,
With a strong market presence, the Mariners should be able to set the terms of any prospective deal after a valuation period, then choose a small group of finalists and enter into exclusive negotiations with one of their choosing, Wills said. He expects the next naming rights contract to run roughly as long as the M’s agreement with Safeco, but unlike that deal, which paid the club a reported $40 million over 20 years, the new contract could pay the team upwards of $5 million per season, perhaps even up to $10 million.
Now, for those of us that pay attention to the business world, we know that Panasonic and Toyota have partnered to take on companies like Tesla and have begun to threaten their stake in certain operations. Does Tesla want them to continue making headway in Stadiums without giving them fair competition?
The challenge to Elon Musk and Tesla, in this case, would be to out-perform what Panasonic has been able to provide Seattle and Safeco field and what others have done across MLB.
How do the Expos Ownership group benefit?
Well, that one’s obvious on many fronts.
First, they get top-of-the-line quality gear and planning for their new stadium. The whole “build it right” issue comes into play here, and if you can trust Elon Musk with a Space program, I’m fairly certain helping build the most energy efficient stadium in MLB shouldn’t be too hard.
Next, you get the immediate benefit of lower energy costs. That pads the pockets of ownership from the first season on. That money can be redirected to operations and setting up the required infrastructure for minor league franchises, for example.
Then you get to welcome fans to your stadium the right way. Whether through cars with charging stations available, electric buses, hyperloops, or Boring company tunnels, you happen to have access to the premier traffic conscious person in the world who is taking that issue on full-tilt. That helps make the stadium as accessible and user friendly as possible.
And finally, you get the market the stadium as environmentally friendly in a Province that takes that issue to heart. When trying to get the public to help fund such an expensive project, it helps a lot to be able to paint it as both a future ready stadium and an as environmentally friendly stadium as possible. Along with recycling and composting programs (as Mariners use), this could improve support for the project.
Montreal – Ice Storms and Others
The last point I’d like to make on this subject is that if it went ahead, there’s also the option of having the City of Montreal chip in and benefit from a larger solar project. With the ice storm they’ve experienced there and the numerous storms since, there’s something to be said for having a backup plan. Tesla’s Mega-Battery project in Australia is a perfect example of this in that it helps supplement what’s already in place, prevents blackouts, and also provides power for a certain period in times of outages.
Overall Thoughts of Tesla Stadium in Montreal
It’s estimated that the cost of the Mega-Battery project in Australia was $50M US and it’s described as being able to power 30,000 homes for 1 hour. That may provide us with a ceiling for the potential costs of making a Montreal stadium off-grid, with the potential to offset any unused portion to the City of Montreal (to be used as it wishes).
Although the production of the system wouldn’t be as great due to being in limited sunlight, comparing 30,000 homes to one stadium built as energy efficiently as possible allows us to believe it is possible.
Combine that with the marketing power of both Tesla and Elon Musk and you have one of the most intriguing aspects of such a project. Yes, the Expos ownership group may have its own allies in the same industries, but do any of them carry the same clout? Doubtful.
And finally, with this project you’d have the potential to gain the public’s support because of three major items: it could help resolve a large portion of traffic woes, it would be one of the most environmentally friendly projects ever built in the Province of Quebec, and it would bring Elon Musk and Tesla to the city of Montreal.
In short, when you build the stadium in Montreal, build it right. Build it with Tesla and Elon Musk.